By TONY EIERDAM
Entering the “second season” the Mineral Wells Rams will face the Iowa Park Hawks to open the Class 3A, Region I playoffs.
All games in the best-of-three series will be played at the Decatur High School baseball field, which is not located at the new Decatur High School. The baseball field is located at the old high school, now the middle school, just west of Highway 287 and south of Highway 380.
Game one will be at 7 p.m. today, with game two at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Game three, if necessary, will follow game two.
Rams head coach Bret Barrick said earlier in the week he will start the series with new No. 2 starting pitcher Aaron Wheeler, who has had good success in recent outings, and on Saturday will start game two with all-state lefty Matt “Moose” Tincher.
Barrick has several options for a third starting pitcher, and he hopes to use Tincher in relief in either game one or three, if a third game is necessary.
“Pitching has been a strength for us this year, and we have plenty of kids who have started at least one game,” Barrick said. “We aren’t worried if we go to a third game.”
Barrick feels Iowa Park will start its No. 1 pitcher to begin the series.
“Jared Biddy is their No. 1 pitcher, and he will be low 80s with his fast ball and he throws a nice curve ball, and he throws both for strikes,” Barrick said. “Their No. 2 is Jace Langen, and he will be in the upper 70s with his fast ball and his curve ball will be lower 70s. He can throw both pitches for strikes.”
Barrick said the Hawks are a good hitting team despite not having much home run power.
“They put the ball in play,” he said. “They put pressure on the defense to make plays.
“They are not a ‘small ball’ team, they are a team that makes contact up and down the batting order.
“We are kind of like that ourselves.”
Barrick pointed out that the Hawks are solid defensively, with no real weaknesses in the infield or outfield.
“They have a solid infield and a good outfield,” Barrick said. “Like all high school teams they do make mistakes, but overall they are pretty good and limit their errors to a minimum.”
Barrick feels starting pitching will be the main tangible in the series. The coach had success last year by waiting until the second game of a series to throw his big lefty. In 2012, the Rams made it to the fourth round of the playoffs.
“If our pitching is on it will be a good weekend for us,” he said. “Throwing Matt second worked for us last year.
“If we can get through their No. 1 – assuming they will throw their No. 1 (today) – Matt can come in and close it out and start game two.
“If we go to a game three, if we didn’t need Matt to close on Friday, we might can use him in relief in game three after he pitches game two, depending on how many pitches he threw in his start.
“That’s what we are looking at. You would like to not have to do that because you don’t want to overwork a kid. But we will keep an eye on his pitch count and communicate with him on how he feels.”
Barrick said he likes where the team is at overall as they head into the playoffs.
“This team plays hard, and I like that,” he said. “We are getting better defensively. We have a tendency to make a mistake here and there, so I would like to see us more consistent defensively.
“We normally hit the ball hard, but lately we have been popping up more than I would like us to. We need to be more consistent at the plate.
“We are making good contact, we are just not driving the baseball like I know we can. I want the kids to concentrate on driving the baseball in this series.
“Again, pitching has been our strength all year long, but we need the other parts of our overall game to compliment our pitching.”
MWHS to face Iowa Park in best-of-three bi-district series at Decatur; opener today at 7 p.m. with series continuing on Saturday
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
The weather wasn't the only thing heating up, Monday afternoon. The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (16-5) were simply on fire in both phases of the game as they crushed the Graham Lady Blues, 10-0, in five innings at Kessler Field.
Protecting their home turf
After finishing the first day of the Mineral Wells Tournament a perfect 3-0, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams (15-4) were back in action Friday with a double-header to close out the home portion of the tourney.
Rams shine at Brock Tournament
BROCK – The Mineral Wells Rams (9-6) had a strong showing at the Brock Tournament, Thursday and Friday, as they continued to lay a firm foundation for the rest of their season.
After over a month of speculation, the Ram faithful have a new leader in which to place their hope.
Friday night, the Mineral Wells ISD Board of Trustees announced their decision to hire Waco Midway's Co-Offensive Coordinator Gerald Perry as the new Athletic Director and head football coach of Mineral Wells High School.
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (14-3) got everything they hoped for and more in the opening day of the Mineral Wells Tournament, Thursday, at Kessler Field. They swept the competition in a triple-header and dealt with a wide variety of situations, overcoming each.
Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
The All-District 17-1A-II teams for both boys and girls basketball have been announced and rivals Gordon and Strawn have left an indelible mark on the 2013-24 edition with the two schools combining for six players on the boys team and a whopping 11 girls receiving honors.
Lady Rams Softball begins MW Tourney
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Four Ladycats garner top 11-1A-I awards
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
MW boys place third, girls seventh at Ram Relays
The Mineral Wells boys and girls track teams were on full display, Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd at the Ram Relays as the varsity girls team took seventh place with 42 point and the varsity boys finished third with 90 points.
State slips away
ABILENE – It wasn't the way a community pictured their season ending.
Fresh off of a thrilling 69-65, double-overtime victory over Ira in the regional semifinals, the Graford Jackrabbits' (27-4) bid for their first trip to the state tournament since 2012 fell short Saturday afternoon with a 58-25 loss at the hands of the Water Valley Wildcats (27-5) in the Class 1A-Division II Regional Finals at Abilene Christian University's Moody Coliseum.
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- Graham Crumbles